Encouraging comments on IL-2’s new clouds

Another teaser and some comments have come out surrounding the development of IL-2 Great Battles clouds enhancement project. Jason Williams, Executive Producer, went to the forums to talk a bit more about his own first impressions of the technology in operation.

Quick test

The update on the forums wasn’t part of a formal update but was instead a first impressions as Jason got to test the technology for the first time. The comments sound especially impressive as Jason was able to test an overcast scene with thicker and deeper clouds than before without significant FPS hit. Previous statements from the 1CGS team have suggested that the new technology may run as well as or better than the previous cloud technology and that seems to be the case in these initial tests.

What’s so different is that these new clouds (besides their beauty) is that they can be much bigger, yet did not cripple my test rig. At least my very first tests did not experience this with tons of clouds in the sky. We’ll share more pics or videos once the final feature takes more shape. We only have a very few test clouds at the moment with just a new moments of artist thought so who knows that the top end can be.

Also, I hadn’t lost SA in a dogfight in a long time, but with these new deeper clouds you can seriously not know which way is up and if you are in a dive and not know it, it may be too late to pull out when you come out the bottom. Get to know your artificial horizon! 

Jason Williams

One of the big enhancements that the new cloud technology for DCS World did was change the “landscape of the sky” and put the weather as a central piece of any engagement. Larger clouds with more detailed and complex formations can change the whole formula of a dogfight taking simple tactics and techniques and adding visibility to the challenge.

For IL-2, this is already the case with the current technology but the new system will further enhance that experience. They also appear to be looking great.

Check out the post on the IL-2 forums for the full context.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Det says:

    One of the primary issues with the IL-2 clouds is that they render, de-render, and or alter based upon where you are in relation to your current view, especially the edges. So you’ll be flying, looking at a cloud formation, and said clouds will then advance and or retract (especially edges) depending upon where you are and what you’re doing. This is immersion breaking at it’s best and it just looks awful.

    It also doesn’t help that they look like mashed potatoes, something akin to XP’s cloud/weather system from nearly a decade ago.The fact that they’ve turned to a modder as an insight and or roadmap to fix these issues doesn’t actually inspire confidence. No disrespect to Rowdy whatsoever, he’s done an amazing job given what he has to work with when he released his initial mod.

    The engine is well past showing it’s age and has been for a long time now. It’s reminiscent of BI slapping more lipstick on the pig (Arma/Enfusion) when everyone knew it was far too long in the tooth. I can only hope they’ve acquired enough funds over the years to either expand their current engine or create a new one. Either-or is desperately needed.


    1. Robert Haynes says:

      I’ve never really thought IL2s clouds looked that bad, and until just a few months ago they were substantially better than DCS, which is the only real combat flight sim competitor.

      It’s also interesting to me that you think IL2’s engine is long in the tooth, when it’s the newest engine by far for any of the combat flight sims.

      I mean, sure I would love a new flight sim engine with all the bells and whistles, but the reality is that we get 10 years minimum out of a flight sim now, and when a new one comes out, it tends to run like garbage for the first two years anyway.

      Given the costs of software development, and the number of people who fly serious combat sims, it’s frankly a miracle there’s ongoing development as is.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      You’re talking about the shimmer of the clouds as they move? It’s somewhat reduced if you use the ultra setting.

      Plus… those are the old clouds using a technology that the IL-2 series has had in place since sometime in 2012. The series has had very good volumetric clouds before DCS or X-Plane had them by almost a decade. It’s time for an upgrade but let’s give some credit where it’s due.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Det says:

        The Digital Nature Engine is very long in the tooth as its the same engine utilized from the RoF series. Granted, it has gone through a whole series of upgrades and advancements, pushing it to the limit, but it is still the same engine more or less and still exhibits the same quirks and issues, especially with regards to renders and AI limitations.

        IL-2 functions spectacularly but often looks mediocre (in a few areas) whereas DCS WWII looks spectacular (in most areas) but tends to function haphazardly.

        The cost point is somewhat moot, IMHO. ED has invested heavily in their engine, in developing it, expanding it, both visually, coding, and functionality wise. This is something they didn’t have to do but chose to and they’re as niche as the IL-2 series. 1C/777 needs to maintain parity as is inferred by you, this being a niche genre and their only real competition at present.

        I love IL-2. I’d rather jump into it than any DCS WWII MP scrum or SP variant any day. However, if they (IL-2 Devs) don’t jump on their game and soon, upcoming DCS additions and features will surpass them and people will migrate regardless of the inflated costs.


      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Investments into the engine do sound like a good idea to me. I’d love to see the lighting system get worked on and to eventually see some more atmospheric and low sun angle effects that MSFS and DCS are doing. That’d certainly add to the “eye candy” aspect of the sim.

        Digital Warfare Engine (they renamed it a few years ago after the big change to the rendering system) is like most bespoke engines built on continual small scale updates. I don’t think that’s a bad thing or that the whole engine will get chucked out. ED hasn’t thrown their whole thing out either. It’s probably too expensive and time consuming to do.

        So… I think we’re agreeing that we’d like to see some core engine updates as time goes on. It probably depends on what their future plans are and where the dev resources are being allocated. It’s a small team so I’m sure it’s a tough juggling act.


      3. Det says:

        Nope. This isn’t “shimmer”. It’s the volumetric AST’s rendering in wacked-out-ways depending upon camera angles as the aircraft moves, not the clouds. This means they render in relation to the CPoV and not as static bodies themselves.

        My game is maxed out at 1440p @144HZ by the way.

        That looks awful. There is no getting around attempting to defend this.


      4. ShamrockOneFive says:

        We’ll have to wait and see if the new clouds function in the same way or not.


  2. Blue 5 says:

    Notice that shot was taken from a P-51C?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Well spotted! No I didn’t see that!


    2. Sorry no it was not a P-51B, just the D which is what I usually fly due to its lovely bubble canopy. Easy to see things.


      Liked by 2 people

      1. Blue 5 says:

        Darn it! Thought the bit of visible rear armour was actually the curve of the aft frame 😀


      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        You had me convinced too 🙂


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